By Shedrack Frank
The Goodluck Jonathan Foundation (GJF) has called on governments in Africa to ensure press freedom in their countries and urged practitioners to use information as a tool for national development.
The Foundation emphasised that the continent will be better when information is used for public good and not as weapons of destruction and disintegration.
The Foundation made the call in a statement signed by its Communication Officer, Mr Wealth Ominabo, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Ominabo said that the statement was to commemorate the 2021 World Press Freedom Day with the theme: ‘Information as a Public Good’.
He quoted the Executive Director of the Foundation, Miss Ann Iyonu, as saying that the theme is a call for action on the shared responsibilities between citizens and government in order to use information to advance justice, peace, security and development.
The Foundation maintained that Journalists and other media professionals are partners in progress in their quest for peace and sustainable development.
The Foundation urged the public and stakeholders to treate Journalist with respect and dignity in thier duties.
The statement reads: “The Goodluck Jonathan Foundation( GJF) joins the rest of the world to celebrate journalists and media professionals on this year’s world press freedom day.
“We renew our call for press freedom, access to information and the respect of the rights of Journalists in Africa.
“Our continent recorded unsavoury reports of deaths of Journalists, violations of their rights and media censorship by state actors.
“According to the 2021 World Press Freedom Index by Reporters without Borders, there is a 13 per cent deterioration in the abuse of rights and privileges of Journalists in Africa in the last one year.
“This is one of the reasons Africa remains the world’s most dangerous continent for Journalists in 2021.
“Journalists and other media professionals are partners in progress in our quest for peace and sustainable development.
“They, like other professionals in our society, are patriots who deserve our support, encouragement and respect. Therefore they should be treated with dignity and love.
“We urge all stakeholders to reflect on the theme of this year’s celebration.
“Information is a Public Good, which serves as a call to action on the shared responsibilities between citizens and government to use information to advance justice, peace, security and development.
“Our nations will be better when information is used for public good and not as weapons of destruction and disintegration,” Ominabo said.
He cautioned people against misusing digital communications and media convergence, misinformation, fake news, noting that hate speeches were becoming threats to press freedom, justice, unity, and development. (NAN)